The Tijuana Cultural Center

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One of the advantages of living in San Diego is that I can rather quickly go to Mexico; if I’m inclined to.

Rather recently I have had the opportunity to go to Mexico twice. Both times after work for a total of around 10 hours. Obviously not the most time but I got to see some things.

The picture above is of the San Ysidro walk in entrance to Tijuana, Mexico. Once you walk in to the processing building you are immediately aware you are no longer in the United States.

On both days I was advised by my significant other to look as natural as possible when entering the processing building pictured above. Both times I was immediately stopped and sent to a line consistenting of 1 or 2 other people. A officer then stamped my passport and sent me on my way.

After walking a block or two you will be greated by a horde of people trying to shuffle you into a taxi. Only 1 of the 4 or 5 taxis I was in had seat belts. I am a seat belt person and they make me feel slightly more comfortable when driving through what I can only describe as crazy Tijuana traffic.

Aside from the feeling I was walking in to a prison and the anxiety of driving in craziness I actually had a pretty positive experience.

I had some great steak at a lovely Aregentinian place.

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And my personal favorite experience of my mini adventure was exploring the Tijuana Cultural Center.

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The cultural center is actually really cool. It is the only IMAX theater in Tijuana. They currently have a Journey  (the rock band) lazer show that plays inside the dome. I am disappointed I did not get to see it.

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Additionally the building behind the dome structure is actually a museum complete with botanical garden. The Botanical is small but free and has some cool statues you can view

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The museum itself is about $1.25 usd to enter. You appearently have the option to view either the Tijuana rock museum which from what i could discern has replica guitars of famous TJ rock bands or take a trip through the history of Baja California.

The museum would not allow me to take picturesof the displays inside but you’ll see replicas of Spanish ships, sword, chapels, and even a small section on dinosaurs.

If you get the chance i would recommed stopping by this museum watching the Journey show (I love Journey) and checking out the Cultural Center.
 

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Places I plan to visit when I go back to Bangkok

During my last trip to Thailand I feel I did not get to explore enough. Which is kind of a crazy thing for me to say because I am very much a stay indoors and fire up the playstation type of guy.

In Thailand though I was out pounding pavement everyday. I was out riding the BTS, riding the water ferry,  seeing Wats (temples) and hanging out eating delicious food in the night markets. That being said here are the things I want to see most when I get back to the Bangkok area.

 

THE GRAND PALACE

Grand Palace

(Note: The above is a picture I took outside the of Palace. While not the most flattering it is one that I took and I’d prefer to use as many of my own pics as possible.)

I think I mentioned in my last post that while in Bangkok I had planned to visit the Grand Palace and Wat Pho on the same day. Long story short the Grand Palace was closed to the public when I got there and so now this is the place I want to see most in Bangkok. Not getting to see this amazing place is regret of mine.

Some interesting things you may not know about the Grand Palace:

-King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) doesn’t actually live here. The Royal family hasn’t really lived on the grounds since 1925.

– It was initially built entirely out of wood.

-There was an Inner Court where the King would house his harem. It’s no longer in use.

-The famed Emerald Buddah is kept here.

  • Emerald Buddah is actually not made of Emerald. Emerald just refers to the color.
  • Has 3 seasonal outfits that only the King or Crown Prince can change.

 

Ayutthaya Historical Park

I REALLY REALLY wanted to come here while in Thailand but did not get the chance to. Chances are if you are a Martial arts movie /video game nerd you have seen this place and may not know it. Remember the old 80’s movie Kickboxer where Van Damme is training in the ruins of what looks to be an old temple. That is a part Ayutthaya.  Sagat’s stage  from Street Fighter with the statue of Buddah lying on his side. Thats Ayutthaya.

While its not really in Bangkok its not crazy far either. So I would not mind grabbing a taxi and heading out there. Something about this place really draws me to it. Its number 2 on my list!

Interesting facts

– The capital of the Ayuthaya Kingdom aka Siam

-In 1767, the Burmese attacked and conquered Ayuthaya. This is when the capital was moved to Bangkok.

-It had not 1 not 2 but 3 palaces

  • Grand Palace – This was the King’s residence. It was destroyed during the Burmese invasion of 1767.
  • Chandra Kasem Palace – Royal residence of the crown prince.
  • The Rear Palace  – Built by King Maha Thammarachathirat  for one of his sons.

 

Floating Market

Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Pictured above is the sign for the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. I tried coming here with a few family members and ended up not going due the amount they wanted to charge us (about $64.50 USD per person. They charge over double for foreigners)  and the fact they wanted to put us in like 3 different boats. I was very surprised they did not want budge on the price. Next time I will be looking for a different market.

Otherwise I think the idea of climbing in a boat for an afternoon and doing all your shopping by paddling  around is an amazing idea. There are many different floating markets around. I would suggest doing some research online before trying to goto one that way you don’t get surprised like I did.

This is number 3 on my list!

Things I wish I knew before going to Thailand

Wat Phra That Phanom 1

I went to Thailand within the last few years. I can’t really give specifics as I don’t want anyone from work finding this blog and finding out I plan to escape.. I had a amazing time. So here are some tips that may help you when you go.

1) Get comfortable. That plane ride is LONG if your coming from the States. I was on the plane for about 21 hours. When I landed in Bangkok my bottom hurt and I still had to take a bus 12 hours to get where I was going. Bring a pillow for the plane. If you’re a giant like I am (about 6ft tall) airplane seats are not your best friend. My knees were constantly shoved into the seat in front of me. Sometimes you’re lucky and once the plane is actually in the air you’ll be allowed to move to an empty seat area.

2) Do you really need an electronics converter? I am a guy who always needs to be “connected”. I need internet! I did a ton of reading online before I went to Thailand about what power converter I needed to buy for traveling and while I did in fact buy one to be safe I actually found out that alot of devices now such as laptop and cell phone chargers are able to compensate for the voltage differences. I did not even end up using the power converter I bought. So you may want to do a google search before you end up buying a converter.

3) Tipping is not the norm.  I am used to tipping my servers in restaurants here in the States. In Thailand this is not a normal practice as far as restaurants. I did make a few exceptions and left a tip for some of my usual servers.

4) Dress appropriately when visiting a temple (wat). When I went to Wat Phra That Phanom (awe inspiring btw) one of our female companions came in shorts and was promptly denied entrance. This is not appropriate dress for a temple and is considered disrespectful. Luckily most of the temples, including this one, I saw do offer rental clothing. She was able to rent a Sarong ( a long skirt) for something like 5 baht and enter the temple.

5) Tourist Maps. In Bangkok free tourist maps are available at the BTS stations (ie a trolley station). They are very basic and just say what stop to use to get where. I used one of these maps and road the BTS to alot of places. That being said I found that they aren’t perfect. I planned to visit  Wat Pho (Temple of Reclining Buddha) and the Grand Palace on the same day. I spent a lot of the day at Wat Pho. Once I was ready to leave and see the Grand Palace I checked the map and found I needed to leave Wat Pho go back to the River boat station and ride the River boat up one stop. Well I took the maps advice and road the river boat up one station. By the time i got to the Grand Palace it was closed to the public. This was not the maps fault. So I decided to at the very least walk around the Grand Palace walls, after reaching a certain point I found that things looked familiar and that the Grand Palace is actually right next to Wat Pho. So if you grab a free map try to plan accordingly.

Well thats all for now guys. I hope you find these tips helpful for your own trip!

We have a domain

Hi all. Today is a great day. Why? Because its the weekend and now I get to just be on call.

In website related news some of you may notice that we now have an official site domain name. Silentlyplottingmyescape.com is live! Additionally we are also now on google +. Over the course of the next few weeks I will be re-posting the older posts there.

I am also looking for a decent picture to replace the default mountain picture shown in the banner above and hope to have something reflecting the country I am hoping to visit, Thailand.

I was hoping to have a review of my Capital One Venture Card soon but I still have received it. Once it has been received I will be using it for a week or 2 before posting my review of the card.

Anyway everyone have a great weekend and don’t forget to follow on Google +

Working toward my goal.

It’s been an incredibly difficult week work wise. I am spending about 10-12 hours a week just commuting to work, working overtime and after overtime is over I am on call 24/7. It’s no way to live.

Today really made me look at my life and say to myself I don’t want to do this after next year. I have to take time off and travel. So how am I working toward that goal?

For one thing I’m writing this blog. It helps me to vent about my frustration and hopefully meet like minded people.

I follow a few digital nomands. I’ve been watching vloggers 8milesfromhome.com. As they have lived in the country I want to goto. I find their videos informative and need to send them some coffee. Nomadic Matt also has a ton of great articles. One of which helped to sway me in direction of getting a travel credit. While he suggests  other travel cards, I decided on the Capital One Venture card. I don’t expect to get free first class accommodation from using this card but the sign on bonus will certainly help me lower the cost of my plane tickets. I’ll write more about this in the future.

I am looking to open an online business. I’ve got alot of ideas. I just want to create a business where I can make enough money to pay for travel on the road ie food, cheap hotels and so forth.

Last but not least since I am working a crazy amount I am putting all the money I can in savings.  I never thought I would have as much as I do in savings but I do. I am ready to change my life in 2017.

Money burns a hole in my pocket

Hello world! I know its been a bit since my last post but I’ve been incredibly busy. Ive got two certification tests I’ve been studying for and working alot.

That being said I got a raise and pretty positive review. I am pretending I didn’t get a raise at all and just throwing all the raise money into savings. I am hoping to have between $5,000- $6,000 saved up by this time next year for my hiatus and trip.

The problem I have is I have a decent chunk of change saved and the want to spend it. There are things I want but all those things are eclipsed by wanting to go on hiatus next year and to going to Thailand. So my savings continue to grow.

Otherwise I’ve been consistently checking airfare and so far the best price I’ve found is $605. The flight would leave from LAX which is an hour or so away from me but leaving from LAX would save me about $200 bucks and an hour layover so I am all for it.

I am still trying to figure out a business idea that could potentially earn me money while I am out of the country or some sort of job I could do overseas to earn some money but I still have a year to figure it out.

In other news I am looking at improving the website I know its pretty generic at the moment but I am currently looking into starting to add the posts to google plus to increase traffic to the site and buying a url and linking to the site. So improvements will be coming my friends.

Thanks for taking time out of your day to read my site!

 

Like a sith lord

I think it’s important to try and look at the brightside of life.  While I am finding certain aspects of my life to be difficult at the moment  I find alot of solace in the fact that I know next year has a lot of great changes in store for me.

While my job seems to be the source of my frustration I know it’s only for 1 more year. A friend of mine once visited Spain. When he came back he said that “In Spain they work to live. In the US we live to work”. The more time I spend at my current job the more I understand this saying.

Currently I work my 40+ hour work week and am on call the rest of the day. This makes doing anything extremely difficult. Now I’m all for pulling my weight but not in this fashion. So like a sith lord I will be patient, bid my time, gain power (ie money) and when next year hits I am going on a hiatus and plan to travel to and explore Thailand.

I’ve spent alot of time recently browsing sites like Kayak.com looking for airline tickets and I’ve almost got enough for 2 round trip tickets. If things go according to plan I should be able to purchase both tickets very soon. After that its just accommodation and spending money!

Maybe I should put up a meter with an approximate I have saved, the areas I’d like to travel to or maybe next post I’ll show some of the prices I’ve been looking at for airfare. If you have any suggestions let me know!

Finding Support

Moving out of the country becomes more and more real to me everyday. I’ve already priced apartments for places I want to live in Bangkok, Thailand. I can definitely find and rent a place for 3 months for under $1000 USD.

Excitement is building and I find myself telling more and more of my family and longtime friends about this. Most commonly they are at first stunned but then there is nothing but support. Every single person I have told about this says its an amazing adventure and that my fiance need to go out there and do this while we’re still young.

My significant other and I have discussed this and we want to begin this adventure next March or April at latest. This gives us a year to save everything we need. We are both earn a decent amount and have relatively few bills so accomplishing this should not prove to be overly difficult.

Let the saving begin!

 

Brainstorming my escape

The past few days all i have thought about is how can I break free of the 9-5. I know I want an online business but don’t know what direction to go. Do I care about being rich? No. I wanna do something I like. Rich would be great sure. But really I just wanna make enough to cover bills and travel.

So I’ve been thinking do I want to sell a product or service? What do I love? What skills do i have? I’m good at dumbing things down for people. I love nerd culture. I’m computer savvy. So how can I take those things and turn them into a sustainable business.

I thought about maybe starting a website and selling only digital comics online. I also thought about blogging about my favorite shows or shows I’ve watched and hated. I’ve got some other ideas I’m thinking about too. Stay tuned.

Mid life crisis

5 years ago I was 27, unemployed, living with two friends who took me in and going to community college to earn a degree in Electronics. I remember at that time thinking if I could just get a job making $10 an hour and work my way up I could make my dreams come true.

Then about 3 years ago I started making things happen. I earned a CompTIA A+ and  CompTIA Network+. I told myself I spent $600 on these certs and I refuse to make less that $12 an hour. I applied to so many jobs and finally landed a job for $14 an hour and with benefits. I am now 32, still at that job, make $20 an hour, have my Associate degree, a new car and a great fiance.

This job has afforded me a lot of great opportunities and I’ve grown so much in 5 years. So why do I feel so unhappy with my life? Am I having a mid-life crisis? All i can think about now is traveling, working either entirely online for someone else or starting my own online business and I’m feeling really determined. I don’t think I want to be at this job next year.